Earth scientist issues terrifying warning about climate change

Dr. James Dyke is an Earth scientist at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom who just explained why climate change will likely kill billions of people before we take collective meaningful action to stop it despite warnings.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a United Nations body that reviews scientific literature and studies to objectively assess the threat of climate change. The panel recently warned that if global temperatures reach the 2°C threshold, we would be entering “dangerous” climate change territory that would have devastating effects on the planet.

While governments and nations around the world are beginning to take action to reverse rising temperatures, it’s just not enough of a collective effort to get the job done.

In 2011, Dyke spoke to a member of the IPCC panel and asked him how high the temperature would go before the world cuts emissions to required levels.

Basically, it will be too late by the time we get our act together.

“Oh, I think we’re heading towards 3°C at least,” the IPCC member told Dyke.

“Ah, yes, but heading towards, we won’t get to 3°C, will we?” Dyke pressed.

Dyke did not get good news.

“But what about the many millions of people directly threatened,” Dyke asked. “Those living in low-lying nations, the farmers affected by abrupt changes in weather, kids exposed to new diseases?”

“They will die,” came the sullen response.

Natural weather disasters such as tornadoes, wildfires, drought and hurricanes have all gotten worse, as has flooding associated with sea level rise due to unprecedented melting of the polar ice caps.

Ultimately people living in coastal regions are going to be most at risk.

People have known about climate change for decades. The fossil fuel industry even knew and buried the reports because it undermines their unbridled pursuit of profit. In just Dyke’s lifetime alone, humans have done a lot of damage that contributes to climate change and the effects it is having on our world.

“I was born in the early 1970s,” he wrote. “This means in my lifetime the number of people on Earth has doubled, while the size of wild animal populations has been reduced by 60%. Humanity has swung a wrecking ball through the biosphere. We have chopped down over half of the world’s rainforests and by the middle of this century there may not be much more than a quarter left. This has been accompanied by a massive loss in biodiversity, such that the biosphere may be entering one of the great mass extinction events in the history of life on Earth.”

In fact, deforestation has only increased and one million species are at risk of extinction, especially larger species.

And Dyke believes uncontrollable climate change may be impossible to stop because of the technosphere, which he describes as “the system that consists of individual humans, human societies – and stuff.”

“In terms of stuff, humans have produced an extraordinary 30 trillion metric tons of things,” he wrote. “From skyscrapers to CDs, fountains to fondue sets. A good deal of this is infrastructure, such as roads and railways, which links humanity together.”

And within the technosphere “more than half of the global population now lives in urban environments and nearly all are in some way connected to industrialised activities.”

Growth is the enemy of our effort to ultimately curb climate change, he argues, because people want products that are better and faster and more of it, resulting in extraction of finite resources for the silliest of things such as party balloons and new smartphones every year or a new car.

And even if climate change does wipe billions of humans off the map, the millions who are left could end up consuming more.

“A much smaller and much richer population of the order of hundreds of millions could consume more than the current population of 7.6 billion or the projected population of nine billion by the middle of this century,” Dyke wrote. “While there would be widespread disruption, the technosphere may be able to weather climate change beyond 3°C. It does not care, cannot care, that billions of people would have died.”

Give these conclusions, it would seem that all hope is lost. By the time humans unite to do something meaningful about climate change, billions of us will have died while the wealthier among us survive to consume even more out of sheer greed.

But while they will have more stuff, millions of species will have disappeared and oxygen levels will be far lower as natural disasters continue turning the planet into a hellscape. In the end, they may all wish they had died with the billions instead of living to see the nightmare they helped create.

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.
 

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